LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian pranksters say they duped Britain’s Prince Harry into saying his new life outside the royal family is “much better” and that President Donald Trump has “blood on his hands” over climate change.
Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the recordings, made by the two well-known Russian hoaxers, Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, which have been published in Britain’s Sun newspaper and extracts put on YouTube.
Asked if the recordings were genuine, Buckingham Palace said it was making no comment on the hoax.
In the calls, the pranksters pretended to be Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, the Sun said, although it was not exactly clear how they had fooled the prince.
However, the voice on the audio does appear to be that of the 35-year-old grandson of Queen Elizabeth, who talks passionately about the global environmental crisis.
“Unfortunately the world is being led by some very sick people,” he said in clips published on YouTube.
“I don’t mind saying this to you guys, I think the mere fact that Donald Trump is pushing the coal industry so big in America, he has blood on his hands.”
Talking about how change could be brought about quickly, he said: “If Donald Trump can become President of the United States of America, then anything’s possible, right?”
On Monday, Harry and Meghan, 38, bowed out from their official royal roles to set off on a new career path in North America which they will finance themselves without using their HRH titles – His or Her Royal Highness, or using “royal” in their branding.
Talking about their exit, the Sun reported Harry had said “this decision certainly wasn’t the easy one but it was the right decision for our family, the right decision to be able to protect my son.”
“I think it’s much better (than royal life). You forget, I was in the military for 10 years so I’m more normal than my family would like to believe,” the paper quoted him as saying.
The two Russians have duped a host of well-known figures in the past and Kuznetsov told Reuters the first call was made on Dec. 31 last year and the second on Jan. 22. He declined to elaborate on them saying they had given the rights of the audio to British media.
(Reporting by Michael Holden in London and Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber in Moscow; Editing by Jon Boyle)